Inspiration to get the Featherston Community Centre spruced up has started with a little vegetable patch.

The newly founded Featherston Community Garden group are in the process of creating a community garden out the front of the Wakefield St centre.

The first of five proposed plots was planted just before Christmas by Jenny Whyte and community centre board member Emily Greenberg.

Miss Whyte sought out a community garden to get involved in as a means to meet people when she moved from Wellington to Featherston mid last year.


The former Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger discovered the community garden at the centre, which was planted about four years ago by PD workers.

"I went along to see what was going on and it wasn't really happening."

She said the old garden had been neglected when Featherston's Work and Income NZ service shut after the fatal shootings at Ashburton's Winz office.

Clients visiting the Winz satellite site, which was housed in the Featherston Community Centre, were invited to take away produce from the garden.

"There wasn't much community involvement with looking after it," Miss Whyte said.

"I thought it looked pretty dilapidated and it needed to be moved [from behind the centre]."

Miss Whyte and Ms Greenberg decided the new garden would be best in a grass patch directly out front of the centre, making it easily accessible.

"It will just make the place look a bit more lively," Miss Whyte said.

"We thought let's get some stuff in there and encourage people to get involved and it's working."

At a meeting last week the garden group discussed tidying up the centre's grounds and put some short-term goals in place.

"We're going to get our hands dirty planting some things and make the place look good.

"If we can make the garden work and keep it sustainable and producing we might be able to expand it down the line," she said.

The group would tidy up the rest of the centre's grounds "and keep it that way" through working bees.

They also spoke of introducing a composting system and potentially building a shade house to raise native seedlings.

Miss Whyte said people could come along to the sessions to pick up gardening skills.

The idea of the communal garden was "providing a sense of community where people can do things together and learn".

Anyone keen to get involved is invited along to Featherston Community Garden group's second meeting, on Tuesday, February 9, at 7.30pm at the community centre.